We all love singing and playing music, and a big part of this is getting up on stage and performing in front of a crowd. For some of us, this is an extremely daunting and frightening prospect, but inevitably, as a singer it’s something you will have to do at some point. In this month’s article I’m going give you some helpful advice, tips and hints on how to overcome performance anxiety and keep that demon away forever.
CONFIDENCE IN YOUR OWN ABILITY
The number one and most important rule to overcoming performance anxiety is making sure that you have 110% confidence in your own ability to hit every note in every song that you are going to perform. If you haven’t got complete confidence in your voice, then you are not yet ready to contemplate getting up on stage yet. It’s just like driving an old unreliable car. You’re not going to feel very confident about driving a car that’s unlikely to make it to your destination. Instead, you’d find yourself a car that’s capable of fulfilling your requirements. The same goes for your voice. If you cannot sing a song, or a particular part in a song, change that part of the song or the key of the song, so that you can sing it with confidence and conviction. Or alternatively, go out and get the necessary training, skills and knowledge to enable you to sing whatever you desire. Without confidence in your voices’ ability to go the journey, you’re inevitably going to be hampered by performance anxiety.
REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE
Once you can sing every note of every song that you’re going to perform, you must rehearse everything that you are going to do up on stage, and I mean absolutely everything. This includes, correct microphone technique, interacting and speaking to your audience, stage presentation and your movement. Everything must be rehearsed. It is also a good idea to choreograph or even write down how you want your live set to unfold. Write down on the set list when you are going to speak to and interact with the crowd. Practice what you are going to say to the audience so that you don’t trip over your words and look like a dill when you’re up on stage.
Once you have got points 1 and 2 down, you’re well on the way to conquering your performance anxiety. At this point, it’s an excellent idea to film your whole performance to see what you sound and look like. You need to critique your video performance and write down the points that you think need improvement, require more rehearsal and look for anything that you can change for the better. Now back to rehearsing, rehearsing and more rehearsing! Once you’re happy with your new and improved video performance, it’s time to take it to the people.
Once you are confident in your performance ability, you now need to start doing this in front of people. I don’t mean getting up on stage just yet. I mean start performing in front of one or two close friends or family who are going to support and encourage you. Do this at home or in the rehearsal studio. Once you’re fine with this you can start to increase the amount of people that you perform in front of. Invite more friends, family, band member’s partners and friends of band members over to the rehearsal studio, or hold an intimate show in your garage or living room. Do as many of these performances as you need until you feel comfortable being in front of people. Once you are confident with all of the above, it’s now time to go out and play in front of a live audience.
TAKE IT TO THE PEOPLE
It’s a good idea to start with the secret show firstly. Then possibly play a few shows on quieter nights of the week like a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. There are also lots of open mic nights where you can gain valuable stage and live performing experience. Ask to play at a friends party or even arrange a party yourself where you can perform. The main point to reiterate after you have gained confidence being up on stage is to keep on doing it regularly and start performing in front of bigger crowds. Try to perform at least once every two or three weeks, because if you leave it for an extended period of time, you will digress back to where you started. If you follow the simple steps and guidelines, then there is no reason why you cannot perform in front of the biggest crowds at the biggest venues.